Presentation: Genealogy and Open-Source Intelligence: Using maps and satellites to find your Victorian ancestor's house and tell its story with Dr Dean Kirby. 21st March


22 February 2024
Journalist and urban historian Dr Dean Kirby will show how family historians can use Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) to locate the site of their ancestors' inner-city Victorian homes even when they have been demolished in slum clearances.

About the talk:

In his presentation at the Genealogy Gadgets Club on Thurs 21st March 2024, 1-2pm UK time, Dr Dean Kirby will explain:

  • What OSINT means and how it can be applied to genealogy
  • How to gather evidence about a property's location, including thinking differently about the census
  • How to map house numbers and find out how properties were constructed
  • How to use satellite imagery to locate an ancestor's home in modern streets
  • How he used these techniques to locate his Irish ancestor's house in a Manchester slum before the site was dug up by archaeologists 
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About the speaker

Dean Kirby is an award-winning investigative journalist whose nominations include the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils. He used open-source tools including satellites to become the first reporter to reveal the existence of Russian filtration camps in Ukraine. He has a PhD in urban history and has had a life-long interest in genealogy. In 2012, he used maps and other records to help archaeologists uncover the home of his Irish ancestor in Angel Meadow, Victorian Manchester's most notorious slum. He went on to write a best-selling book about the district and now publishes a weekly newsletter about Victorian Manchester at He also offers genealogy research services, including help in locating ancestors' homes demolished in slum clearances, and can be contacted at [email protected].

Find him on X at @deankirby_ and on Instagram at @mancunianhistorian

When & where?

The meeting will take place on Zoom on Thurs 21st March 1-2pm UK time.

How to join the meeting

This presentation is part of the Genealogy Gadgets Club programme brought to you by Family Tree Plus. The meeting will last one hour: with a 30-40 minute presentation, followed by time for questions.

The session is available two ways:

  1. to those on a 7-day free trial to Family Tree Plus (to take a free trial see
  2. to members of Family Tree Plus (£7.99 a month for existing Family Tree subscribers; £9.99 a month for non-subscribers) - for details, see here.

If you have any queries about the presentation or about Family Tree Plus, please email [email protected]